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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/406

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402
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

dark dungeons, ornamented with the mosaic patterns shown in previous views. A modern steel gate with a big lock keeps out unaccompanied travelers. After we enter, get candles and register our name and address, the guide conducts us from one room to another, sometimes coming up into rooms open above, but which we had not seen before, and then going down again until we get bewildered.

The details of the mosaics are interesting (Fig. 10). As is already seen from the picture, the design is partly cut and partly laid. The pattern projects about two inches and in the lower part is very peculiar in its angles and in the regularity of its irregularity. The entire structure, even the smallest pieces, is of stone, there being no bricks in the construction. Not only the mosaics, but all other parts of the buildings are put together without any mortar or cement. The fitting is extremely accurate and the edges of the stones, in many cases, are as sharp as if recently cut. The stone is like that found everywhere in the neighboring mountains.

Aside from the mosaics, the ornamentation has largely disappeared. The guide informed us that even within his memory there had been large patches of picture writing like that shown in Fig. 11, but that enterprising tourists had chipped off so much of it that the entrances to the chambers had been walled up as in this picture, so that they are now reached only when the steel gate is unlocked by the guide. By looking closely just above the walled portion, one can see the general character of this ornamentation. The groundwork is a hard plaster painted a dark red, while the tracing is in white.

What the buildings were for is a problem which the tourist is more ready to solve than those who are better informed. Perhaps these are the ruins of a great temple. To one tourist, at least, they seem to have been better adapted to the festivities of a great royal court. But whatever they may have been for, they prove that the people who built them were well advanced in art and architecture.